The Chilliwack Chiefs have been pushed off the top of our weekly British Columbia Hockey League rankings by Prince George today. We’ll talk about that and more in today’s BCHL Report.
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Now for the disclosure… the following is my opinion and not written under the influence of anything or anybody.
1 – Prince George Spruce Kings (23-8-1-2): PG took care of business at home with wins over both Vernon and Nanaimo. The boys will need to stay focused and not overlook Surrey this weekend. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: PG has really settled into a groove, proving they’re among the elite in the league. Expect them to keep on rollin’.
2 – Chilliwack Chiefs (24-10-0-0): Chilliwack got wins in two of three games last week at Prospera Centre. That’s all it took to get pushed off the heap. The Chiefs are at Coquitlam and Langley this week. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: It’s a two-team race in the Mainland. Chilliwack would be wise to not slip up in these division games.
3 – Victoria Grizzlies (22-10-0-1): The Grizz picked up home wins over Cowichan Valley and Salmon Arm to propel Victoria up to #3. Let’s see if the winning continues this week when the Grizzlies travel to Nanaimo and Alberni Valley. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: Even without some key pieces in the lineup, the Grizz are likely to keep winning.
4- Wenatchee Wild (21-10-2-0): The Wild have wins in eight straight games after the home-and-home sweep of the Vees. Salmon Arm visits Friday. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: No one expected the Wild to stay near the bottom of the division but not sure anyone expected them to get this hot either.
5 – Penticton Vees (20-10-1-2): The Vees lost both ends of the home-and-home set with Wenatchee, knocking them out of first place. Penticton has another home-and-home this week, with Trail. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: The Vees are one of several teams feeling the impact of the World Jr A Challenge but will weather the storm and finish strong.
6 – Merritt Centennials (21-11-1-1): The Cents are undefeated so far in the month of December. Yea, it’s only been three-games but that’s still better than most of the rest. Let’s see if that trend continues this week at West Kelowna and home against Powell River. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: Merritt is doing a great job of drawing up a blueprint that other teams who’ve struggled might be wise to follow. The Cents are slowly building a powerhouse.
7 – Powell River Kings (19-13-1-0): The Kings made a very bold statement at Chilliwack Saturday night; that 5-0 win over the Chiefs was beyond impressive. The bus rolls to Langley, Merritt, and Coquitlam this week. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: Not sure if it was a bold statement or a Chilliwack choke job, but it sure looks impressive. This will be a long week.
8 – Coquitlam Express (18-13-1-0): The Express were burned by Trail at home Friday before salvaging the weekend with a solid 8-4 win at Surrey. Coquitlam visits West K tonight before hosting Chilliwack and Powell River this weekend. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: If the Express can add some consistency to their game, they’ll build up a nice head of steam moving toward the postseason. They’ll be hard pressed to finish anywhere above third, though.
9 - West Kelowna Warriors (19-14-0-1): The Warriors got clipped by the Cents Friday at home before picking up a big win at Vernon Saturday. Coquitlam visits tonight before Merritt and Cowichan Valley visit Royal Le Page Place this weekend. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: A “Sampler Platter” as West K gets a team from each division coming in. They may be in fourth place, but are only 5 points off the pace.
10 - Salmon Arm Silverbacks (16-13-3-0): The ‘Backs went 2-1 last week but could find repeating that result difficult. Salmon Arm is at Wenatchee Friday before hosting Cowichan Valley and Vernon Saturday and Sunday. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: Home ice has been largely a safe haven for the ‘Backs so they have a reasonable shot at winning 2 of 3 again.
11 - Langley Rivermen (16-16-1-0): The Riv are back to square one (.500) after getting just a single win in three games last week. Powell River and Chilliwack visit this week. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: Pretty much as expected, Langley is a .500 team. It’ll be nice to play at home, but against two teams battling for first place in their respective divisions means two hard nights at the Lodge.
12 - Vernon Vipers (11-12-6-3): The Vipers have losses in three-straight game to fall below .500. Vernon is at Trail tomorrow before hosting Cowichan Valley Friday. The Vipers close the week with a visit to Salmon Arm Saturday. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: The Vipers are a really good hockey team, but really good doesn’t cut it in the Interior. Is there a roster shakeup coming?
13 - Trail Smoke Eaters (12-17-4-2): Do you think that Trail is missing Cam Keith yet? Five games under .500 and having just one win in the last six games tells us the situation is not great. Vernon visits tomorrow before Trail closes the weekend with two games against the Vees. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: And the Vees are locked and loaded after last weeks oh-fer with Wenatchee. The Smokies will definitely have their hands full.
14 – Nanaimo Clippers (13-18-0-0): The Clips were beaten at PG and Merritt before putting the stops to that five-game slide with a solid 6-3 win at Langley. Alberni Valley visits tomorrow night before Victoria in in on Friday. Nanaimo visits Alberni Valley Saturday. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: The Clippers are basically rolling with the tide. Win some, lose some, not at all in control of their path. At least, at home, the currents can be more favorable.
15 - Alberni Valley Bulldogs (11-20-1-0): The ‘Dogs picked up a big 4-1 win at Cowichan Valley and used that win to leap over the Caps to #15. Alberni Valley visits Nanaimo tomorrow before hosting Victoria Saturday and the Clippers Sunday. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: The ‘Dogs are most dangerous when they play with some confidence, and right now, they’ve got some.
16 – Cowichan Valley Capitals (8-20-4-1): The Caps dropped all three games last week and fall a spot to #16. This week’s road trip to Vernon, Salmon Arm, and West Kelowna could make things even worse. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: Yes, the Capitals have lost a lot of games but they continue to show up with an honest effort night in, night out. Tall order this week, but the Caps are capable of stunning any of their opponents.
17 – Surrey Eagles (7-24-1-2): The Eagles dropped both home games against Coquitlam and Salmon Arm last week, extending winless streak to five games. That five will turn into a seven if Surrey does not get better in a hurry before visiting PG this weekend. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: You hate to see any team struggle as bad as Surrey, but it just doesn’t seem to be getting any better. Hard to believe it was just five years ago that Surrey was the Fred Page Cup Champions. Such a distant memory now.